Roman Catholicism

Disciplines of a Devoted Prayer Life, Part 4

Note: This article was originally posted December 7, 2005.

For those of you who think that I just do not get the idea of blogging, you are probably spot on. Articles on prayer will most likely never make the blogging Hall of Fame. In all sincerity, I understand that subject matter such as this is not the best “blog material.” I mean, none of us really disagrees with the fact that prayer is a necessary and an incredibly important part of our lives. Yet I continue to write on the subject for that very reason. We need prayer. While we spend our time debating some much-less-important topics, many times the most important ones (prayer and a true passion for Christ) are ignored in our schedules. Nevertheless, as a word of encouragement and comfort to all: this is the last of the four-part series on prayer.

E.M. Bounds wrote,

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What the Pope Said That Upset So Many

The next time George Bush is watching Fox News and sees himself being burned in effigy in a foreign country, one of his staff needs to tell him, “Don’t take it much to heart, Mr. President. They do the same thing to the Pope!” At the risk of writing for little interest on this website, I thought I would explain what all the fuss is that the Pope stirred up in Regensburg and what that means to Bible-believing Protestants.

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First Impressions of Thomas Merton

Before reading Thomas Merton’s little book Contemplative Prayer, [1] I had anticipated the difficulties in coming to terms with an entirely different system of theology and spirituality–in this case, one kind of Roman Catholic monastic life. I write “one kind” because I discovered that Merton himself would join Protestants in criticizing the stereotyped vices of the monastery. [2] Perhaps it’s best to say that Merton was a very influential Roman Catholic monk, writing compellingly for what he saw as the ideals of Roman Catholic monasticism. At any rate, it takes time to receive an author on his own terms, especially with respect to unfamiliar theological systems, because much of the furniture is the same, only arranged quite differently. [3]

At this point, I need to fill in a gap. Why am I bothering to read Thomas Merton’s Contemplative Prayer? Last winter, I met a Roman Catholic. He and I have met more or less biweekly to read books that have been influential to us, using these books as platforms for discussion. Yes, Merton was his pick. I am now trying to crystallize a few responses to Merton’s biggest ideas therein. I think an acquaintance with these general differences would profit us, and so I share them with you.

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